What is a Solar Panel Farm?

Solar Farms

The solar industry is booming in a variety of sectors ranging from smaller residential systems to the much larger solar systems that can span hundreds of acres. While the underlying technology of these two systems are the same, some of the finer details can be quite different. The general purpose of these two types of solar systems can be entirely different from one another. So, what is a solar farm and what should you know about them?

  • What Is A Solar Panel Farm?
  • How Do Large Solar Arrays Work?
  • How Is A Solar Farm Different From A Residential Solar System?
  • What Are The Advantages Of Large Solar Fields?

What Is A Solar Panel Farm?

All farms seek to grow a product that can then be sold for a profit. Some farms focus on growing animals to be sold for their meat while others focus on growing fruits and vegetables that can then be picked and sent all over the world. A large solar array is no different except instead of growing fruits and vegetables or animals, the farm is producing electricity. This electricity is then sold back to the electrical grid operators or specific utilities in various locations. They are referred to as farms because, much like traditional farms, many acres of land is required.

How Do Large Solar Arrays Work?

The fundamental components of a large solar system are solar panels and inverters. The solar panels are the modules which, when sunlight hits them, generates electricity. The inverter is a device that switch electricity from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). AC is much more easily transmitted over long distances which is why inverters are so critical to this process. This electricity can then be transmitted to thousands of homes and businesses from a single farm.

How Is A Solar Farm Different From A Residential Solar System?

A home solar system is typically tied into a home electrical panel and feeds their meter directly. This type of installation is known as “behind the meter”. If the home solar system is generating more electricity than the home is using, the meter will literally begin to spin backwards. A large solar array will never be behind a meter and is instead known as “in front of the meter” meaning that it will feed the grid directly. So, what is a solar farm doing if it isn’t feeding a meter? Because the large array is tied directly into the grid, this electricity generated is then transmitted many miles until it is used by homes and businesses alike.

What Are The Advantages Of Large Solar Fields?

Perhaps the biggest advantage of large solar fields is economies of scale. Because developers are able to buy in bulk, the overall cost per watt of installed capacity can be lowered. In the case of a residential solar installation, the largest project cost is labor whereas with large solar fields, the largest cost is the equipment. Additionally, because the fuel for a solar array is provided for free by the sun, the cost to operate a solar field is extremely low. The main costs are to monitor, maintain and fix any worn out aspects of the solar system.

As more consumers like you are seeking out renewable energy for their homes, the popularity of large solar farms is growing at a rapid pace. By utilizing naturally occurring renewable resources such as sunlight, we as a society can continue to operate normally while having a much less negative impact on the environment.

 

Call SuperGreen Solutions today to find out how solar power can benefit you. Call for your quote today.

 

Solar Trees

The Benefits of Solar Trees

The designs and functions of solar panels have improved dramatically, and most people are very familiar with them as they appear on more homes and businesses. Solar Trees, which provide many of the same benefits as solar panels, are less known to the average individual. Learn about the benefits of a solar tree and the main differences between a solar tree vs. solar panel.

What Are Solar Trees?

These structures are built like trees with solar panels attached to the trunks. They are designed for decorative purposes and to bring renewable solar energy to a home or business. A major purpose for the installation is to increase the public’s awareness of renewable energy and get more people interested in solar panels.

Benefits of a Solar Tree

These trees provide a primary or secondary source of power for a home or business. One tree can serve as a backup source of power in case of a blackout. However, it needs an adequate amount of sunlight to provide energy. The power is used to run electronics, charge batteries, and keep the lights on.

Like naturally grown trees, artificial trees are an attractive decoration for the yard. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, or designs. Some designs are custom made based on the property owner’s preferences. The base that resembles the tree trunk is typically made of metal, stone or plastic, but many designs are made to resemble natural wood. Both the “trunk” and solar panels can be painted in different colors or arranged in different shapes.

Solar devices make people more aware of the growing need for renewable energy. Every day they are reminded that most of the power on Earth is provided by the sun for free and in abundant supply. By installing a few rows of panels, homeowners can save hundreds of dollars a month on energy bills and get all of the power they need during the day.

Solar Tree vs. Solar Panel

Sun-powered trees are more ornamental, but solar panels are more economical. Installing solar panels is the preferred option to save as much money as possible on energy bills. Your property receives a steady stream of electricity that never runs out as long as sunlight is available. Additional benefits of solar panel technology include:

  • Little to no maintenance
  • Reduced pollution in air, ground, and water
  • Decreased rates of nonrenewable energy
  • A decrease in the usage of natural resources
  • Increase in concern for the environment

In some developing countries, there is widespread use of solar energy. That is because people cannot afford to look for and waste nonrenewable energy sources. They find it much easier, cheaper, and less time consuming to use resources from nature all around them. In developed countries, the use of solar and wind power needs a lot more attention. Most people are only used to getting their energy from gas, oil, and fossil fuels. But there’s always the possibility that it will run out, so it’s also important to look at alternative sources of energy from solar trees and panels. Start by hiring the right solar panel installers for your home or business. Contact SuperGreen Solutions Charleston today to receive a free solar assessment.

 

Can Solar Be Recycled? Residential solar panels

Can Solar Panels be Recycled?

In recent years, encouragement from the solar industry have pushed for the development of recycling programs for panels past their prime.

Solar panel recycling now has the potential to become a huge industry in of its own.

Better recycling practices can prevent large amounts of waste from hitting landfills while reclaiming the materials needed to manufacture solar panels in the future.

Solar panels produced today have an estimated energy pay back period of two years. Basically, in two years they will have produced more electricity than was required to make them. This quick return on investment is even better considering that solar panels manufactured today have an estimated minimum lifetime of about 30 years. Most manufacturers are so certain of the lifespan that they generally offer 25-30 year warranties. Panels in use throughout the post-warranty period will continue to produce electricity – just at a lower rate of production.

There is nothing yet mandated at a national level, but there are a few states trying to get the required recycling ball moving. In July 2017, Washington became the first state to pass a solar stewardship bill (ESSB 5939), which requires manufacturers that sell solar products into the state to have end-of-life recycling programs for their own products. Manufacturers that do not provide a recycling program or outline will not be able to sell solar modules into the state after Jan. 1, 2021. Regional takeback locations will be set up to accept solar panels at no cost to the system owner, and the state may charge manufacturers for the program. Final plans are still being decided. New York and California are coming up with similar programs with many other states to follow.

The clock is ticking since the U.S has about 15 to 20 years before solar panel recycling becomes a major issue. Plenty of time to figure out the best course of action based on the estimated lifespan of current solar panels.

 

Health Benefits of solar

Heath Benefits of Solar

Solar energy is an alternative energy option that uses energy from the sun’s rays and converts it into energy that can provide electricity for a home.

The use of solar energy can greatly reduce your home’s dependency on other energy options such as coal, gas, and oil while reducing your carbon footprint.

The majority of scientists now agree that the long-term effects of burning fossil fuels causes major issues with our environment. Burning these types of fuels emits large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. As the layer of greenhouse gases increase, the heat is trapped inside the earth’s atmosphere which can cause the temperatures around the world to rise. Some effects of the earth’s heating, including melting ice caps, rising sea levels and intensified storm systems, are already becoming more noticable.

Solar energy emits zero carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere. Here are some health benefits of solar.

 

  1. Solar reduces air pollution- by increasing the share of solar power in the total energy generation, high amounts of air pollutants can be avoided.
  2. Solar helps mitigate climate change-generating electricity with solar panels does not produce any greenhouse gasses.
  3. Solar leaves water resources intact- besides compromising our clean drinking water supply, the energy industry also contributes to severe pollution.
  4. Solar uses fewer resources- even though solar technology is made of resources that have to be mined and processed, 96 percent of the material contained in silicon solar panels is recyclable. This includes important resources such as aluminum, glass, and even rare or precious metals like silver, gallium, indium, and germanium.

 

Solar helps us breathe cleaner air and live in a less polluted world. Not only can you save money on your electric bills, you can also reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health and the health of those around you. SuperGreen Solutions of Charleston can show you just how much you can save by going solar.

 

How Can Roof Angle Affect Solar Panel Performance?

To get the most from solar panels, you need to point them in the direction that captures the most sun.

Orientation, tilt and shading are of special importance, as they all have a major impact on the amount of sunlight that reaches the photovoltaic panels.

Most solar panels are mounted on rooftops, flat against the surface. But not every roof is angled to best capture the sun’s energy. For home solar systems installed in South Carolina, due south is the ideal orientation for harnessing maximum solar power.

Optimal tilt angle for a home solar system is equal to your home’s latitude. Since tilt can significantly affect solar power production, SuperGreen Solutions of Charleston factor in the roof angle when sizing a home solar system. For flat or low-sloped roofing, special brackets may be used to achieve a more favorable tilt angle. Shading is very important when designing a home solar panel system.

You could have a south-facing roof at the optimal tilt angle, but if the panels are shaded, your solar energy production never reach their full potential. SuperGreen Solutions of Charleston will perform an analysis to determine how much the solar panels will be affected by shade from nearby trees.

What are Examples of Alternative Energy?

What are examples of alternative energy?

The issues surrounding the use of fossil fuels, particularly in terms of climate change, has become a very hot topic over the course of the last few decades.

Today, there is a general shift towards environmental awareness and the sources of our energy are coming under closer scrutiny. Lowering emissions, fuel prices, and pollution levels are all advantages that the use of alternative fuels can often provide. Here are a few examples of popular examples of alternative energy.

  1. Tidal Energy: While tidal energy uses the power of water to generate energy, much like with hydroelectric methods, its application actually has more in common with wind turbines in many cases. Tides are generally more predictable and dependable than wind or sun energy and though it is a fairly new technology, its potential is enormous.
  2. Wind Energy: Wind energy has become increasingly popular in recent years. It offers much of the same benefits that many other alternative energy sources do in that it makes use of a renewable source and generates no waste. Wind energy has become increasingly popular and most states in the nation now have some form of wind energy set-up. Unfortunately, this form of energy generation can restrict views and may be dangerous to some forms of wildlife.
  3. Geothermal Power: Geothermal power is about extracting energy from the ground around us. It is growing increasingly popular and has great potential while doing little to disrupt the land. The heavy upfront costs of creating geothermal power plants has led to slower growth than may have been expected for a fuel source with so much promise.
  4. Wave Energy: Wave energy has an advantage over tidal energy because they can be placed in the ocean in various situations and locations. It is also more reliable than many other forms of alternative energy similar to tidal energy. The cost of wave energy systems is what holds back this energy source from becoming more popular.
  5. Hydroelectric Energy: The most common type of hydroelectric power plant uses a dam on a river to store water in a reservoir. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity. Hydropower is fueled by water, so it’s a clean fuel source, meaning it won’t pollute the air like power plants that burn fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas. Hydroelectric power is a domestic source of energy, allowing each state to produce their own energy without being reliant on international fuel sources.
  6. Solar Power: When most people think of alternative energy sources they tend to use solar power as an example. Solar technology has evolved massively over the years and is now used for large-scale energy production and power generation for single homes. This energy source is completely renewable and the costs of installation are outweighed by the money saved in energy bills from traditional suppliers. Let SuperGreen Solutions of Charleston help you on your journey to using alternative energy to reduce your carbon footprint.
concentrated solar power SuperGreen Solutions

What are Concentrated Solar Panels?

Have you ever heard of using a mirror or magnifying glass to heat something up on the pavement during a hot, sunny day?

Concentrated solar power works in a similar way.

Unlike photovoltaic (PV) systems, or traditional residential solar systems, which use the sun’s light to generate electricity, concentrating solar power systems generate electricity using the sun’s heat. The U.S was a pioneer in the development of CSP, or solar thermal power, and California’s Mojave Desert hosts some of the earliest operating CSP plants in the world, installed in the 1980s. At a CSP installation, mirrors reflect the sun to a focal point which has an receiver that collects and stores heat energy. Eventually, the heat is used to power an engine or turbine that is connected to an electricity generator. Concentrated Solar Panels are used in utility-scale applications to help provide power to an electricity grid. CSP plants require significant infrastructure for collecting steam and generating electricity, and large areas of land, which limits project design options and locations for CSP plants and generally makes them an option for large-scale generation only.

CSP is only available for large, utility-scale installations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from solar power in other ways. Consider installing a solar PV system to cut down on your electricity bill costs. SuperGreen Solutions of Charleston can help you pick out the perfect solar system for your needs.

Residential Carport Solar Panels Super Green Solutions

Solar Carports: How Do They Work?

Solar Carports work mostly using the same principles as a normal residential solar installation.

Solar Panels are installed on the roof of the carport and then connected electrically to the power grid using an inverter.

SuperGreen Solutions of Charleston can help you with the designing, installation, and power connection of the solar carport on residential and commercial rooftops.

Solar carports are an offshoot of traditional carports, which provide shade and protection for your vehicle. Typical carports are much different from solar carports however, and call for different hardware and installations. Solar carports are essentially taller ground mounted solar panels. They are simply lifted high enough so that a vehicle can fit below. A solar carport can be structured to optimize the positioning of your solar panels, whereas this may not be as simple or possible for a rooftop solar panel system.The electricity being produced by your solar carport is just like any other solar energy and it can be used in your home, stored in a battery, exchanged for credits in the grid using Net Metering. If you decide a solar carport is right for you, be sure to get one that fits in your driveway. Some can accommodate just one car, while others can accommodate two or three. Contact us today to help you create your perfect solar carport and start saving green by going green!

 

SCE&G Dominion Net Metering Expiration Solar Panels

Important Deadline Quickly Approaching! Please read if you have any interest at all in going solar

SCE&G/Dominion’s net metering program will end once their 2% net metering capacity cap is achieved unless new legislation is enacted soon.

This cap can be hit at any time due to large commercial projects grabbing allocations of the program, but the expectation is currently now May 3rd.

Here is the current deadline from SCE&G’s website-https://www.sceg.com/docs/librariesprovider5/pdfs/nem_cap_notification.pdf

For net-metering applications approved prior to the capacity being reached, customers will be able to take advantage of the current net metering policy. This policy allows the customer to receive a 1:1 ratio for energy they sell back to the grid. They are grandfathered into the program.  After the cap is met, utilities will give you less than a 1:1 ratio for energy you create. They typically pay at what is called “avoided rate” or “wholesale rate” which is a fraction of what they charge you. This change reduces the value of installing solar and can cause the payback period to DOUBLE because instead of getting a full retail credit of ~$0.12/kWh for any energy sent back to the grid, they will only pay about $0.05/kWh.

We remain optimistic that new legislation called the Energy Freedom Act will pass in the SC Senate (already passed in the House) and that the net metering cap will be extended, but there are no guarantees.  If you have any desire to free yourself from the utility monopolies, gain your energy independence, & save $$$$, you need to act now or the chance might pass you by.

In addition to the net metering, Federal Tax Credits are changing – tax credits will remain at 30% until the end of 2019, they drop to 26% in 2020, and to 22% in 2021.

State Tax Credits are NOT changing – we have one of the best tax credits in the country!

Please reach out to SuperGreen Solutions of Charleston today for a no obligation assessment to see what the benefit of going solar would be for you!

Smart Thermostat Solar Panels Nest

Which Smart Thermostat is Right for Your Home?

Solar panels and smart thermostats are two of the most powerful technologies available to help you take control of your home’s energy consumption.

Smart thermostats aren’t just control panels for your heating and air conditioning anymore!

New smart thermostats are equipped with Wi-Fi, sensors, advanced algorithms and much more to help make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Here’s how those new features benefit you as a homeowner as well as a few models to consider.

Ecobee4

EcoBee thermostat SuperGreen Solutions

The $249  Ecobee4 thermostat has a built-in Alexa speaker. You can ask the thermostat for the current weather forecast, to tell you a joke — and to adjust the temperature, all without needing a separate Alexa speaker. This device also works with Google Assistant and Siri, so if you have a Google-Assistant-enabled smart speaker or a HomePod, you can also control it with Google Assistant and Siri commands. Most thermostats only read the temperature in one place (usually the hallway) which can make other rooms uncomfortable. ecobee4 comes with a room sensor to help manage hot or cold spots. Adjust temperature and comfort settings easily from the ecobee mobile app on your Android and iOS devices, including Apple Watch.

Nest Learning Thermostat

The $249 Nest Learning Thermostat is one of the best-looking smart thermostat out there. It has a modern look that fits in with nearly any home decor. The $169 Nest Thermostat E looks nice too, but it has more plastic components that aren’t as appealing as the Learning Thermostat’s stainless steel. The Nest Learning Thermostat is the first thermostat to get ENERGY STAR certified. It learns what temperature you like and builds a schedule around yours. Change the temperature to save energy and you’ll be rewarded with a Leaf. The Leaf learns how to help you save, so it appears at different temperatures for different families. Adjust temperature and comfort settings easily from the Nest mobile app on your Android and iOS devices, including Apple Watch.

Honeywell Lyric T5

The $149.99 Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat allows you to take comfort knowing your home temperature will always be just how you like it. It’s easy to install and use and conveniently fits in with your lifestyle. You can program it based on your schedule, or let it adapt to your life as plans change. Control the Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat from anywhere simply by using your smartphone or tablet: helping keep life simple and removing the guesswork, while ensuring maximum comfort when you’re at home and saving you money on your energy bills.

Emerson Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat

With clearly illustrated in-app instructions and illuminated easy-click wire terminals, the $139.00 Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat takes all of the frustration and guesswork out of the installation process. Easily connect to your wireless network in no time, and once you’re up and running, you can use the intuitive controls to create a custom schedule in seconds, or set your thermostat to adjust automatically using geofencing for location-based temperature control. Sensi uses your smartphone’s location to avoid wasteful heating and cooling when you’re away, and makes sure your home is exactly how you like it when you arrive.  With independent programming options for each day of the week, Sensi lets you create and customize your unique schedule to fit your lifestyle

When you pair a smart thermostat with a solar panel system, you take your electricity production and use into your own hands. Let SuperGreen Solutions of Charleston help you on your journey to a smarter more energy efficient home!